Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release


Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - When you look at the list of 2011 Patriots salaries and cap hits, one number in the top five jumps off the page. Ty Warren with an approximate3.1 million salary and a 5.878 million cap hit. (Thanks, Miguel!). That number is too steep for a player of Warren's age and injury history despite all the good work he's done for this team. And there was a lot of it between the time he was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2003 and July 28, 2011. When I contacted Warren Friday afternoon and told him I was sorry to hear the news, he replied,"Don't be sorry. It's all good, man. I'm excited, really, to be honest with you. I appreciate everything. I appreciate my journey with the Pats and the Kraft family presenting the opportunity. I appreciate all my teammates over the years who were close friends...and will continue to be. I look forward to bigger and better things. "We're putting out feelers to certain teams around the league," he added. "I'm looking forward to donning the jersey of a contending team and that's what you'll see me wearing this fall."Warren missed all of 2010after hip surgery.The 30-year-old from Texas A&M has been a highly regarded player in the community and the locker room, but there seemed to be growing friction between he and Bill Belichick in the last couple of years here. On Thursday, Warren failed the team's conditioning test, pulling up with a hamstring injury. "But there's people who failed the running test who stuck around," Warren pointed out."I think the team was looking to do some things differentlyon defense andI wasn't in the plan. It doesn't have anything to do with the test or anything else or related with Bill. You can see by the acquisitions they made. Plan on doing different things I'm not in the plans for and with my salary, they weren't going to keep me around as dead money."Asked about his relationship with Belichick, Warren said, "Bill's a unique guy. There's some things that toward the end of my careerwe didn't agree on. At the same time, you can't make him happy all the time and he can't make me happy all the time. At the end of the dayI respect him as a good coach and as someone who was very good at preparing the team. But that's about as far as it goes."Hisexit conversation with Belichick was "a grateful talk." Warren added,"I respect Bill and I respect the guys."The other salary-cap related move was clearly offensive lineman Nick Kaczur who was on the books for3.4 million in salary and over 4.3 million in salary and potential bonus money. A third-round pick in 2005, Kaczur wasa more than serviceable right tackle for much of his time but his performance lagged in 2009. A back injury during training camp last year cost him the 2010 season. Alge Crumpler may be thebiggest surprise among the releases. He was due a salary of 2.4 million this year. He joined the Patriots last spring and quickly became a mentor to young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and brought such great leadership he was named a captain last year. He was also an outstanding blocker. He seems the most likely of the released players to get re-signed to a lower contract at a later date. The Patriots also announced the previously reported releases of Marcus Stroud and Tully Banta-Cain, as well as the signings of two rookies - quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”